The Chester County Health Department encourages all parents and health care providers to use summer as a time to make sure children's vaccines are up-to-date. Parents are encouraged to contact their health care provider today to discuss vaccine needs well before the start of the new school year in the fall. Pennsylvania requires children to have certain vaccines before they enter school and are part of a child’s regular school physical before entering kindergarten and 7th grade. Vaccines are safe, effective and an important part of keeping children healthy in summer and year round.Vaccines help protect children and teens from sixteen diseases, like whooping cough and measles. Vaccine-preventable diseases can be very serious, may require a hospital stay, or can be deadly - especially in young children. “Immunizations have had an enormous impact on improving the health of children in our country and in Chester County,” said Jeanne Casner, County Health Director. “Through partnerships, education and direct service, the Health Department strives to lead the way to continued high immunization coverage.”The recommended childhood and adolescent schedule urges vaccinations starting atbirth through 24 months of age, with boosters and age-specific vaccines continuing through the teenage years and into adulthood. Proper vaccination among school aged children promotes health and prevents disease outbreaks in schools.For children without a medical home, the Health Department is a vaccine resource that offers all recommended vaccines to children with Medical Assistance, and those who are uninsured or underinsured. A parent or guardian must accompany the child and bring vaccine records. Privately insured children, including those with CHIP, are encouraged to visit their medical home. More information about Chester County Health Department immunization clinics may be found at chesco.org/health or by calling 610-344-6252.More information about vaccines required to attend school in Pennsylvania may be found at the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or by calling 1-877-PA HEALTH.